It’s never easy seeing the people who once cared for you reach a point when they are no longer able to care for themselves. No one particularly wants to outsource the care of their loved one to a complete stranger, but, sometimes, doing so is the only option. Hiring a home care nurse can be scary but doing so ensures the best possible care for your loved one. Depending on your situation, it can also take a lot of burden off your shoulders. If you are facing this challenging decision and are in need of some helpful advice regarding care options for seniors, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to discover some tips on finding a home care nurse.
Who Are Home Care Nurses and What Do They Do?
Home care nurses are typically licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs) who provide care for patients in their homes rather than in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. In many cases, they make it possible for elderly people to remain in their own homes. These nurses are qualified to perform numerous tasks, including administering medications and injections, providing medical treatments, and helping patients with personal care tasks like dressing, eating, or using the restroom. They provide virtually all of the same services that they would provide inside a medical facility.
Home care nurses are incredibly helpful healthcare providers. Each day, they put on their scrubs and head to a patient’s home to provide one-on-one care. They are all highly trained professionals but trying to find the one that is right for your loved one requires some time and consideration.
Beginning Your Search for a Home Care Nurse
According to the AARP, the first step in hiring a caregiver is assessing your needs. Sit down with your loved one and have a frank discussion about needs and limitations. Write down what they need help with, how much assistance they require, and any recommendations their doctor has made. Also, ask them about their preferences. Write down their likes, dislikes, and expectations.
This conversation will likely be difficult, but it is extremely important. You and your loved one need to be on the same page about why they are in need of a home care nurse and their expectations before you start searching for the right person. Writing everything down will make it easier for you to find someone who meets your and your loved one’s needs. Having documentation from their doctor will help, too, when it comes to dealing with insurance companies or Medicare.
Finding a Caregiver
Once you have a clear picture of what you need, you can start looking for a caregiver. There are several ways to find a home care nurse. You can talk with friends, work with an agency, or check a registry in your area. Each of these options has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Talking to friends and neighbors is a good way to learn about home care nurses via word of mouth. This option allows you to learn about different options and the types of experiences others have had with them. Keep in mind, though, that experiences can vary greatly, especially when care needs are different. This option can save you some money, though, as it cuts out the middleman, so to speak. Just be careful if you go this route. Not everyone who dons a pair of scrubs is a licensed nurse. If you hire someone on your own, be sure to check their credentials to ensure that everything is in order.
Home health agencies connect people who are in need of in-home care with skilled nurses. The nurses who work for these companies are prescreened and have already completed and passed background checks. Typically, they also have a pool of nurses to choose from that allows them to select someone who is experienced with the specific type of care your loved one needs. And, if the caregiver you choose gets sick, the agency can usually find a replacement quickly so that your loved one doesn’t go without care. The downside? Working with an agency is expensive. If your loved one isn’t covered by insurance or Medicare, you could end up spending a lot out of pocket.
In some areas, there is a registry that lists local in-home caregivers. There, you can find contact information for nurses who may be a good fit. You maintain control over the schedule, and you and your loved one set the rules and expectations. You also have the freedom to choose a person who meshes well with your family. If you use an agency, on the other hand, you are likely to get any person they feel is qualified to meet your loved one’s needs. Hiring off a registry offers more flexibility. When you hire from a registry, though, you need to do your own background and credential checks. You may also be left hanging if your nurse is unable to come to work. Unless you make other arrangements, there is no emergency coverage.
Choosing the Right Home Care Nurse
Interview potential home care nurses, preferably with your loved one present. Be clear about job requirements, ask questions, and write down the answers. Take the time to get to know a potential nurse before hiring him or her for the job. If either you or your loved one feels that a particular person isn’t a good fit, move on to the next candidate. The person you ultimately choose needs to be someone with whom you are both comfortable.
Hiring a home care nurse for a loved one can be scary. In many cases, though, it is essential. If you have a loved one who is struggling to care for themselves, working with an in-home caregiver could make it possible for them to stay in their own home. With patience and careful research, you can find someone who is a perfect fit for your family.